WWE Battleground 2014: Stars Under the Most Pressure at PPV

Bryan HaasFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2014

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Still reeling in the wake of Money in the Bank, the WWE Universe now gears up for the intense action that will surely feature at the company's next blistering event, Battleground 2014.

And while some superstars like Seth Rollins have seemed to build a tremendous amount of momentum in the last few weeks, others have not been nearly as fortunate.

Entering the ring on Raw with a somewhat smug attitude, Divas champion Paige looked about as confident as any young champion should be given her win over Naomi at Money in the Bank the previous night.

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However, her joy was short-lived, as a returning AJ Lee quickly defeated her for the title much in the same way that Paige had done to her several months ago.  

And let’s be honest: The young Brit has had a nice run over the last few months, but it seems as if her time as a top Diva might be coming to an end. The returning Lee defeated her in rapid fashion, embarrassing the now-former champion and leaving her hysterical in the middle of the ring.

And while Paige had proven herself to be an innovative and dominant champion, it seems as if she was out of place in a division consisting mainly of women who look like runway models.

If her probable matchup with Lee takes place at Battleground, Paige will have what could be her last shot at a Divas title for the time being. Without that coveted prize, and with more established stars knocking on the door for a title shot, it may not be long until the former champion finds herself relegated to short and pointless filler matches, as many of the matches between the Divas are at the current moment.

And if it seems as if Paige has come too far too fast, one need only look at a more established star to learn that even years as a major star does not always lead to a comfortable position. Indeed, former World champion Jack Swagger might be on one of the hottest seats there currently is.

Swagger has some great intangibles in his favor, but he also has a list of shortcomings that grows longer by the moment.

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Despite his solid technical background, he is still very reckless in the ring. It was mentioned on Raw that he was the culprit of the attack that ultimately put Intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett on the shelf and led to the title being vacated.

In addition, despite his great look and numerous titles reigns, Swagger has never fulfilled the intense amount of promise for which he always seemed primed.

His character looked to take a great turn when he was paired with the always entertaining Zeb Colter, but even the presence of the wily veteran does not always save Swagger. And while Colter is a fantastic mouthpiece, even the small amount of talking Swagger does ruins the impartial message that his manager is trying to deliver.

But his impending feud with Rusev has a ton of promise, with both Superstars looking to cement a foothold in the roster. And just as it is important for Swagger to deliver a great showing at Battleground, it is just as if not more important that Rusev be at the top of his game as well.

While the Bulgarian Brute and his gorgeous handler Lana have thus far run through all of the obstacles placed in his way, Rusev will face an interesting test in Swagger.

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So far, Rusev has done battle with other powerhouses like Big E or smaller men whom he was able to simply destroy. Swagger has an impressive amateur background and now the constantly scheming Colter in his corner.

Thus far, no one has been able to stop Rusev, and frankly, Swagger might not be the guy to do it either. But Rusev’s winning streak over unworthy opponents will eventually have to end.

And although it is somewhat entertaining to see squash matches, it does not seem as if Rusev has truly proven anything yet. And if he remains unproven, it could just be a matter of time until he is no longer featured as much as he currently is. Or worse, he'll become the guy who gets squashed.

Being under pressure is not just a midcard problem. Two of the men in the Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship are under as much pressure as some of their less-heralded peers. But both men are in that position for different reasons.

First off, Randy Orton finds himself in an odd place at the current time.

Granted Orton will never truly be on the hot seat, but his presence of late has not been what it once was. And while he truly seems to be putting in his best effort week-in and week-out, he may not be the feared individual that he once was.

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With the introduction of other superstars like The Wyatt Family and the rejuvenated Kane, Orton no longer finds himself as the top heel in a company overflowing with them.

This is not to say that Orton is in danger of losing his spot as a top heel in the near future. No, he just needs to have an increased and more relevant presence in order to stay where he deserves to be. His upcoming title opportunity could do just that, keeping him in the main event picture, albeit with three other superstars.

Like Orton, Roman Reigns is in absolutely no danger of losing his spot to anyone anytime soon.

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In fact, it seems as if he is currently the heir apparent to John Cena as the top babyface in the company.

And that is where his trouble may begin.

That top spot automatically carries a monstrous level of responsibility, one for which the young Superstar may not be completely prepared. But in his defense, Reigns has performed admirably in his role as a burgeoning hero thus far.

Can that trend continue when he is finally handed that proverbial ball? Or will he fumble at the goal line?

More importantly, can any or all of these Superstars handle the pressure of their current roles leading up to Battleground and move on to bigger and better storylines?